Disability Law Group: November Case Spotlight

In October 2019, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a woman who had been battling serious health problems, including severe migraines, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, deep vein thrombosis, and hypertension. She had also recently began to experience depression due to her worsening health and inability to work or function like she used to. Recognizing significant health issues and trauma was no new territory for her as she spent many years working as a certified nurse assistant, but she was young and did not want to accept the fact that she should not be working at any job. Although she was experiencing significant health problems while working as a nurse assistant, she tried to transition to another field of work as a gas station manager.  Unfortunately, her physical ailments made it difficult to sustain that type of work, as she continued to be absent from work weekly. After talking with many doctors and her family, she knew it was time to consult with a disability attorney, but she wanted to make sure she was dealing with someone reputable who truly cares about their clients and only specializes in this type of work. 

When she called Disability Law Group she was met with compassion and empathy; she hired attorney Mansour after their initial free consultation and began the process of waiting for her hearing with him by her side. Mr. Mansour was able to obtain a hearing for the claimant less than 12 months from her initial application. More importantly, the Disability Law Group assisted the client from start to finish, from the application stage, then the appeals, then the hearing. Randall was able to assist his client in getting her scheduled right away through a phone hearing, instead of postponing and waiting for a live in-person hearing. Additionally, he also worked with his case manager and dedicated team at Disability Law Group to obtain critical medical evidence and statements in support of her case from her doctors, in addition to thoroughly prepping the client for her hearing.

In his brief, not only did Mr. Mansour provide a detailed analysis of his client’s health problems and treatment, he argued that her conditions were so severe they met or medically equaled the relevant Listing, and requested that the ALJ award benefits by finding her to be “disabled” pursuant to Listing 4.11 for Chronic venous insufficiency of a lower extremity with incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system. This Listing requires medical documentation of many specific criteria, such as adherence to treatment for at least 3 consecutive months along with:

  • A. Extensive brawny edema involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and knee or the distal one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip

Or

  • B. Superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and either recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.

During the hearing, it was revealed the records showed earnings after her alleged onset date of May 2019; however, we made the argument the earnings were not considered earned income, but rather employer-provided benefits. Instead of potentially losing several months of back pay, we respectfully requested additional time to provide documentation from her previous employer. The judge allowed 14 additional days to provide her with the documentation. Mr. Mansour and his staff worked diligently to retrieve that documentation, which saved the client thousands of dollars in potential monthly benefits.

After careful review, the ALJ agreed that Randall’s client was disabled, finding the letters from her employers and reports obtained from her doctors that Disability Law Group carefully drafted for her case to be “persuasive.” By October 2020, less than one month from the date of the hearing, both the claimant and counsel had received the good news: Fully Favorable Decision. With this decision comes not only the validation that she should not have been working, but also the financial relief and insurance to help cover her critical treatments. The client hopes to obtain full-time employment again if her conditions and symptoms subside, and with proper treatment and care, this could be obtainable in the near future.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments, specifically trouble with sitting and standing due to lower extremity problems and/or mental health conditions, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied and need to file a request for reconsideration or an appeal, or if you would like help from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

Disability Law Group: October Case Spotlight

In November of 2019, attorney Erika Riggs was contacted by a 30 year old woman from Ypsilanti, Michigan, who was having a difficult time finding a reputable attorney to take her case on appeal. Her claim for Social Security Disability benefits had been denied many times despite appeal after appeal. She had just received a denial by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) following a hearing where she was represented by an attorney from a different law firm. She felt discouraged by the decision, and on top of it all she was suffering from serious back pain with numbness, tingling and weakness affecting both of her legs and feet. What made matters even worse for her – she was facing homelessness by being unable to work due to her medical conditions, and unable to pay her mortgage payments.

When she called Mrs. Riggs, attorney and partner at Disability Law Group, she had only one more month left before the deadline to file an appeal from the ALJ’s decision. Following a denial, or an Unfavorable Decision from an ALJ, the next step in the appeal process is called a ‘Request for Review’ to the Appeals Council (AC). The AC is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, and is made-up of approximately 53 Administrative Appeals Judges with 44 Appeals Officers, and several hundred support personnel that assist the Judges and Officers along the way. The wait time at the AC level can range from many months to longer than two years for a decision with approximately 144,000 cases reviewed and decided in 2019. The AC may grant, deny, or dismiss a request for review, but the majority of requests are denied at this level.

Not every law firm, including those who specialize in disability cases, take appeals at the AC level or beyond. At Disability Law Group, our attorneys specialize only in disability and take cases at the AC and beyond, to include the US District Court level of appeals. Erika carefully reviewed the Unfavorable decision by the ALJ and the medical records previously submitted and agreed to take her case. Acting quickly with no time to waste – Mrs. Riggs quickly filed the ‘Request for Review’ at the Appeals Council along with a brief in support. In her brief, Erika pointed out the evidence supporting that her client should be considered disabled at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process – the step that addresses the Listings enumerated by Social Security.

Specifically, Mrs. Riggs argued that her client’s lumbar spinal condition with stenosis resulted in pseudoclaudication established by MRI findings and manifested by chronic pain and weakness with an inability to ambulate effectively, thereby showing that Listing 1.04 was reasonably met or medically equalled. Further, she pointed out errors in the ALJ’s decision when evaluation the Listing at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process, including neglecting to properly analyze her client’s medical records and hearing testimony that correspond to the relevant Listing. She concluded her argument by requesting a medical expert opinion evidence evaluating all record evidence with an interrogatory addressing whether her client’s lumbar spinal condition met or medically equaled Listing 1.04. Ultimately, the AC agreed with Erika’s arguments in support and determined that the ALJ failed her duty to consider relevant evidence, issuing a Remand for further development, including an opinion from a Medical Expert.

In less than one month from the AC’s Remand Order, attorney Riggs and her staff worked swiftly to prepare and update the evidence of record and a Medical Expert Interrogatory was requested and received. The ALJ immediately issued an on-record Fully Favorable Decision based on Erika’s arguments and evidence in support without even requiring another hearing, finding that the claimant’s spinal condition met the criteria of Listing 1.04. This award of Social Security Disability benefits meant more than 3 years’ worth of past due benefits, monthly disability payments, and Medicare coverage for the client. Notably, the same day that Disability Law Group received the Fully Favorable Decision, Erika and her staff immediately submitted a dire need request to release her client’s back-pay benefits promptly so that she could keep her home, and not have to worry about foreclosure.

In her review she provided upon hearing of the good news, her client gave us 5-stars and wrote: “Erika Riggs was absolutely amazing! She was pivotal to my SSDI appeal approval. She was with me every step of the way and let me know I was not alone. She took the time to answer all my questions, no matter how frivolous. She even called me on her day off to tell me I was approved. I wish Erika could represent me in all my legal battles.”

If you or someone you know are suffering from pain or other serious problems that keep you from being able to work and affect your ability to function normally, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

Disability Law Group: September Case Spotlight

In July of 2017, attorney Mandy Kelly was contacted by a grieving widow of a Vietnam Veteran.  Her husband had served on active duty from 1967 until 1970 with service in the Republic of Vietnam. Unfortunately, 3 years prior, her husband unexpectedly died from complications he had suffered from his leukemia. She immediately filed for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  One way of obtaining DIC benefits as a surviving spouse is establishing service connection for the cause of a Veteran’s Death.  In this case, the widow believed that her husband’s leukemia was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during his time in Vietnam.  

Service connection is available for certain diseases as presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents. All chronic B-cell leukemias (including, but not limited to hairy-cell leukemia and chronic lymphocytic leukemia) are capable of presumptive service connection. While the Veteran died because of leukemia, specifically CML, this type of leukemia is not subject to presumptive service connection statutes. Thus, as many veterans, and their spouses, have experienced in similar situations, the VA denied her claim.  She tried to appeal on her own, but was denied yet again.  This poor widow was discouraged and ready to give up when she reached out to attorney Mandy Kelly for help. 

After her free consultation with Mandy she knew she needed an attorney to help her fight to get the benefits she deserved on behalf of her husband, and she immediately hired her to represent her and pursue another appeal. Mrs. Kelly worked with the widow to obtain the proper medical evidence, including literature and 3 medical opinions to support her claim that the Veteran’s leukemia was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange. In a December 2019 BVA hearing, Mandy Kelly represented the widow before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, and by January 2020 the BVA issued a  Decision granting her client DIC benefits.

The Board found that the weight of the evidence was in favor of service connection as directly due to presumed herbicide agent exposure. With two medical opinions from the Veteran’s hematologist in November 2014 and September 2017, and another opinion from a private physician in October 2017, and the advocacy by Attorney Mandy Kelly from Disability Law Group, the Veterans Law Judge decided to grant benefits and overturned the previous VA decisions. These private medical opinions concluded that the Veteran’s CML, and subsequent death, were at least as likely as not caused by in-service exposure to herbicides. Specifically, the physicians first explained that CML is an “overlap disease” between myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Secondly, the private opinions referenced credible research from the Aplastic Anemia and MDS foundation which concluded that exposure to herbicides put patients at an increased risk for developing MDS. On this basis, the physicians explained that as exposure to herbicides increases an individual’s risk for MDS, it also increases an individual’s risk for developing CML. Ultimately, the Board was convinced that these three private opinions provided sufficient persuasive evidence of a nexus between the Veteran’s cause of death from CML and presumed herbicide agent exposure in Vietnam.

If you or someone you know are suffering with the effects of leukemia or other serious health problems that you believe were caused by something you were exposed to in service, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

Disability Law Group: August Case Spotlight

In February of 2020, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a woman who had been battling serious health problems, including Parkinson’s disease. She had also recently overcome breast cancer, but continued to suffer from the residual effects of treatment, and she began to experience depression due to her worsening health and inability to work or function like she used to. Recognizing significant health issues and trauma was no new territory for her as she spent many years working as an emergency room technician; but she was young and did not want to accept the fact that she should not be working at any job. After talking with many doctors and her family, she knew it was time to consult with a disability attorney, but she wanted to make sure she was dealing with someone reputable who truly cares about their clients and doesn’t make people feel like another number.

When she called Disability Law Group she was immediately met with kindness and respect; she hired attorney Mansour after their initial free consultation and began the process of awaiting for her hearing with him by her side. Her initial hearing had been scheduled for April of 2020, but had to be postponed due to COVID-19. Fortunately, Randall was able to assist his client in getting her hearing re-scheduled right away; he also worked with his case manager and dedicated team at Disability Law Group to obtain critical medical evidence and statements in support of her case from her doctors, in addition to documentation from her previously submitted Long Term Disability claim; he drafted pre-hearing briefs to help the Administrative Law Judge assigned to her case better understand her disability and our theory for granting her benefits.

In his brief, not only did Mr. Mansour provide a detailed analysis of his client’s health problems and treatment, he argued that her conditions were so severe they met or medically equaled the relevant Listing, and requested that the ALJ award benefits by finding her to be “disabled” pursuant to Listing 11/06 for Parkinsonian syndrome. This Listing requires medical documentation of many specific criteria, such as adherence to treatment for at least 3 consecutive months along with:

  • Disorganization of motor function in 2 extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use of the upper extremities, or
  • Marked limitation in physical functioning, and in one of the following:
    • Understanding, remembering, or applying information;
    • Interacting with others;
    • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace;
    • Adapting or managing oneself.

At first, the ALJ denied the request which could have resulted in a delay in the process. However, attorney Mansour immediately requested additional reports from the claimant’s doctors, recent visit notes, and submitted an updated request for an On-the-Record grant of was incapable of sustaining any gainful employment due to her worsening health problems and neurological deficits. In fact, working could result in an additional decline in her overall physical and mental health state.

After careful review, the ALJ agreed that Randall’s client was disabled, finding the reports obtained from her doctors that Disability Law Group carefully drafted for her case to be “persuasive.” By July of 2020, both the claimant and counsel had received the good news: Fully Favorable Decision. With this decision comes not only the validation that she should not have been working, but also the financial relief and insurance to help cover her critical treatments. She is grateful to be able to focus on her own health so she can regain better functioning and quality of life in hopes that one day she will be able to return to work, helping others with serious health problems and crises like she did for so many years.

If you or someone you know are suffering with the effects of cancer or other serious health problems that limit your ability to function or work, such as Parkinson’s disease and/or mental health conditions, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied and need to file a request for reconsideration or an appeal, or if you would like help from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

Disability Law Group: July Case Spotlight

July is Mental Health Month, intended to help raise public awareness and knowledge on important issues related to mental health and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from mental health conditions do not receive the help that they need. We are doing our part to help promote resources and information that could be helpful to those who suffer from various mental health problems – whether a veteran or civilian, adult or child. Our law firm takes great pride in helping people who suffer from mental conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more. There are many resources and benefits available, including insurance, monetary benefits, and treatment available to help people manage and treat their symptoms. Our goal is to help individuals whose mental health conditions interfere with their daily lives, or ability to work so that they can focus on what matters most: treatment and healing. The last thing someone with mental health conditions should have to worry about is the financial burden caused by the inability to work from severe symptoms.

For our July Case Spotlight blog, we are featuring a recent win by attorney Erika Riggs granting Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits and desperately needed Medicare insurance for her client.  In February of 2020, Mrs. Riggs received a phone call from a man who needed help and didn’t know where else to turn; he told Erika that he had been approved for long-term disability (LTD) benefits through his employer, but becoming unable to work at the age of 50 with worsening health problems, he was not sure how much longer that benefit would last or whether he would qualify for SSD benefits while receiving LTD benefits.

Attorney Riggs explained his rights, and reassured him that he would have a strong case for SSD and could even collect LTD benefits while awaiting his decision and approval; she immediately got to work on his application. Her client suffers from severe degenerative disc disease in both his neck and back (or cervical and lumbar spine), as well as degenerative joint disease in his knees, chronic pain syndrome, diabetes, and coronary artery disease, having experienced 2 heart attacks. He had always worked and was nervous about receiving the benefits he needed and still supporting his family. Due to his worsening health problems, and inability to work, as a result, he admitted he began feeling depressed and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. He had been in treatment, and even in rehabilitation services to try to feel better. Erika encouraged him to keep up with his treatment, reporting all symptoms and even medication side-effects, and she worked with him and his doctors to obtain all supportive documents quickly.

In order to help her client receive an award of SSD benefits as soon as possible, Attorney Riggs and her team at Disability Law Group worked quickly to expedite the process, even ensuring the medical evidence relating to his LTD claim was received right away and submitted to Social Security before a decision could be made. Medical Source Statements, and examinations concerning a person’s mental and/or physical health symptoms and limitations, can be especially helpful for LTD and/or SSD cases as they help to confirm what specific work-related limitations an individual has. In just 5 months, Erika and her client received the news that the client was approved for SSD benefits and was able to collect a lump-sum back pay benefit as well as his future monthly benefit and Medicare coverage he needed to continue with critical treatment.

If you or someone you know are suffering from depression or any mental health condition, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied and need to file a request for reconsideration or an appeal, or if you would like help from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights.

Disability Law Group: June Case Spotlight

June is National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month, intended to help raise public awareness and knowledge on important issues related to PTSD, and to reduce the stigma associated with PTSD. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from PTSD do not receive the help that they need. We are doing our part to help promote resources and information that could be helpful to those who suffer from PTSD – whether a veteran or civilian, adult or child. Our law firm takes great pride in helping people who suffer from mental conditions, including PTSD, to obtain the disability benefits, insurance and resources available to help them so that they can focus on what matters most: treatment and healing. The last thing someone with PTSD should have to worry about is the financial burden caused by the inability to work from severe PTSD symptoms.

Here at Disability Law Group, our attorneys pledged to help share information about disability benefits and resources available for those with PTSD. The pledge form through the Department of Veterans Affairs can be found here: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/awareness/awareness_pledge_form.asp.

For our June Case Spotlight blog, we are featuring a recent win by attorney Mandy Kelly granting service connection to a Veteran for his PTSD.  This Veteran entered the military with no psychiatric conditions or symptoms whatsoever.  Unfortunately during service, like all too many veterans, he witnessed someone commit suicide. As one can only imagine, witnessing this tragic, terrible event caused him significant psychiatric distress.  He sought out treatment in service and noted he was suffering psychiatric symptoms at the time of his discharge.  Almost immediately after service, he entered into treatment for his psychiatric symptoms and was diagnosed with PTSD. 

However, upon filing for service connection for PTSD from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, he was denied service connection over and over again.  After almost giving up, and on the brink of losing his home due to being unable to afford his payments, he decided to reach out to an attorney for help; that’s when he was connected with attorney Mandy Kelly at Disability Law Group.  At that point, the veteran’s claim had been pending for almost 5 years, but his doctors had refused to complete the requisite paperwork needed to help corroborate his claim and allow for a proper rating under the law. Mrs. Kelly immediately got to work on this veteran’s case and obtained the evaluations required to help support service-connection for PTSD. Finally, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs granted the veterans claim for service-connected disability benefits that he desperately needed and truly deserved. This decision meant even more than the financial benefit, and now being able to keep a roof over his head, but his claim was now validated. He can begin to focus on the treatment and supports to get better without worrying about how he would make it to the next day.

If you or someone you know are suffering with PTSD, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied service-connection, or believe the percentage assigned is unfair, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights.

Disability Law Group: May Case Spotlight

In March of 2019, a terrible incident occurred in Detroit, Michigan, where an individual sustained severe 3rd degree burns to both of his arms from grease. He was immediately hospitalized for three weeks, undergoing split thickness skin grafting to his left arm and xenograft to his right arm.  Unfortunately, following the operations, he was in severe pain – so much so that narcotic pain medication nor PCA pushes would relieve his symptoms. Therefore, he was taken back for split thickness skin grafting of his right arm. Upon discharge, he was prescribed a series of pain medications to help him manage his pain and muscle spasms at home, including Lyrica and Flexeril.

Recovery at home was another long and hard battle with multiple rounds of physical and home therapy to gain use and control over his arms, hands, and fingers again. He admitted to limitations with carrying and handling objecting, and moving the affected areas. Not only was his functional mobility limited, but his social life was greatly impacted. He recalls feeling self-conscious over the look of his arms, and being overwhelmed with sadness regarding his inability to do all the tasks and hobbies he was used to before the accident occurred. Even caring for himself proved to be difficult.

Next, came surgical management for the scarring, and even additional surgeries including burn contracture release operations on his arms, and Co2 laser ablations to the arms due to symptomatic burns. Upon realizing that his life was not returning to normal as soon as he’d hoped with persistent, uncontrolled pain and muscle spasms, he decided to apply for disability benefits. While the monthly monetary benefit would be helpful as he was not able to work while recovering from his burn injuries, he also knew that the insurance accompanying disability benefits would help with his skyrocketing medical expenses.

He knew he wanted a team of experienced disability attorneys in Michigan that specialize strictly in disability claims, and with a demonstrated track record of success. He found Disability Law Group, and when he called he spoke to an attorney right away. Attorney Randall Mansour talked with him and helped him understand the disability process, promising to stick by his side at every step of the process beginning with the initial application for disability benefits.

Attorney Mansour filed the claimant’s disability application, and he included every detail of his medical history and health problems. After a few months of waiting, with many medical updates provided along the way, the state agency doctor (contracted by the Social Security Administration to review disability claims), determined that he was not significantly limited and would likely quickly improve. Ultimately, Social Security found that even though he could not return to jobs he was used to (including a packer, driver, laborer, and groundskeeper at Ford Motor Company), he could perform other full-time work. Social Security then issued a denial letter as they do for the vast majority of initial claims. Our team at Disability Law Group immediately appealed, requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

Randall prepared his client for what to expect, and obtained all helpful medical information to support his case. Advocating that his client’s condition had not improved and that he should be found “disabled” under the rules, Attorney Mansour argued that Listing 1.08 was met in this case due to the severe nature and extent of the burns sustained. The ALJ agreed, finding that the state agency doctor’s medical opinion was not persuasive based on the medical evidence in this case. Specifically, the ALJ decided, that the burns affecting the arms under surgical management, as defined under the Listings, directed toward the salvage or restoration of major function, and such function was not restored or expected to be restored within 12 months of onset. Therefore, the claimant received a Fully Favorable decision and was approved for the disability benefits and insurance he deserved.

While the disability process can be a difficult and long battle paper writer filled with many hurdles, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options, and help you obtain disability benefits as quickly as possible. If you or a loved one are unable to work full-time due to your medical condition(s) – whatever that condition may be – you could qualify for disability benefits. Whether you are looking to apply, have already been denied, or are awaiting your court date, you can call and speak with one of our attorneys to help you win the benefits you deserve. We will fight alongside you to make sure you receive the benefits you are entitled to. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. 800-838-1100.

Disability Law Group: April Case Spotlight

In the summer of 2019, attorney Erika Riggs met with a family in her office in Troy, Michigan, who had called her for a free consultation. They explained that they were all going through what had been the most difficult time in their life. Having suffered significant loss of their father, and tragic injuries from a car accident, the son had now received a Cessation letter from Social Security. This letter not only meant the loss of his desperately needed disability benefits, but also termination of Medicare – the insurance covering treatment for his many chronic, progressive conditions – including a rare condition called syringomyelia – was almost too much to bear. He knew that if he wasn’t able to see his specialists, including his neurologist, his condition could deteriorate further. That’s when he called Disability Law Group, seeking assistance appealing his recent cessation notice from the Social Security Administration.

Mrs. Riggs took the call and could hear the desperation in his voice as he told her that other attorneys and disability law firms had turned him down – stating that because he intended to keep his benefits while awaiting his next level appeal determination, taking his case would mean no attorney fee even if he won. Erika listened to his story, and the suffering he and his family had endured on top of it all; she agreed to take his case pro bono. Most of all, Attorney Riggs recalls that “the family must have been one of the nicest families” she had ever met, and she was “not going to allow him to lose his critical insurance benefits,” especially when her review of the medical records showed that his condition had not improved; therefore, there existed no reasonable grounds for denying him the benefits he deserved and desperately needed. His conditions include syringomyelia, osteopenia, chronic insomnia, chronic pain syndrome, Charcot arthropathy, migraine headaches, pelvic floor dysfunction, ADHD, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder.

That day, Erika and her compassionate team at Disability Law Group, worked diligently to help him – working with her clients’ doctors and healthcare providers to obtain all evidence that was missed by Social Security at the Reconsideration level, and even drafting forms to help support his ongoing disability. Next, the team submitted a waiver of the 75-day notice of a court date so that the client could have his court date scheduled immediately, without any unnecessary delay. By January of 2020, the time for the hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) had come. Erika presented opening and closing arguments, in addition to her pre-hearing brief outlining the supportive evidence establishing disability, and she cross-examined the Vocational Expert to support the case. Ultimately, the ALJ agreed, and shortly thereafter, issued a Fully Favorable decision, finding that disability did not end.

Fortunately, this decision meant that Erika’s client could keep his benefits he had received while waiting for this determination, without having to pay back his benefits nor going without his insurance. While the disability hearing process may seem overwhelming and difficult, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options and ensure you are prepared at every step. If you or a loved one is unable to work full-time due to your medical condition(s), whether you are looking to apply, have already been denied, or are awaiting your court date, you can call and speak with one of our attorneys to help you win the benefits you deserve. We will fight alongside you to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. 800-838-1100.

Disability Law Group: March Case Spotlight

Disability Law Group attorney and partner, Randall Mansour, recently received a ‘Fully Favorable’ decision for one of his clients following a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Mr. Mansour reviewed the claimant’s entire disability file, took great care in ensuring his medical file was up-to-date, and even drafted a Medical Source Statement for the claimant’s doctor to review and complete. Medical Source Statements that assess an applicant’s Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) (or maximum ability to perform work-activities given their individual limitations), can be helpful in disability cases. These assessments can help the ALJ, or the Social Security Administration, to understand the severity of symptoms, diagnoses, response to treatment, and work-related limitations.

Certain limitations for work may relate to the individual’s physical impairments, such as the ability to sit, stand, walk, bend, climb, lift, carry, finger and feel objects, reach, and more. Mental and cognitive limitations may also be assessed by way of a Medical Source Statement, and the factors considered may include the person’s ability to maintain focus and concentration, get along with other people, respond to criticism from supervisors, and deal with normal work stress, among others. In a disability case before the Social Security Administration, the applicant’s exertional and non-exertional limitations must all be considered, taken together, and how they may impact work. 

In this case, the Social Security Disability application was filed in December of 2018 which is also the month when the disability began. While the application was denied by Social Security at the initial application stage, our team, at Disability Law Group, acted swiftly to file an appeal so that the client could have a hearing before an ALJ. Once the date was scheduled, Mr. Mansour prepared his client for what to expect – from advising who would be a part of the hearing process to helping him understand questions he could expect to be asked and how to best respond, honestly and completely.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of his control, the client was unable to consistently see his doctors for about 6 months while going through the disability process. However, as soon as he could, he immediately resumed care, seeing his specialists and mental health therapists regularly again. While the Judge seemed reluctant to award benefits back to the date requested due to the gap in the treatment record, Randall convinced her otherwise. Attorney Mansour provided detailed opening and closing arguments during the hearing, and submitted a written brief in support, to help the ALJ understand the unique facts of this case that merit an approval back to December of 2018. Mr. Mansour worked closely with the client’s mental health specialist to draft a thorough Medical Source Statement, bolstering his argument and the facts of the case. Ultimately, the ALJ agreed and approved the client’s Social Security Disability case back to December 2018, allowing for back-pay benefits, future monthly payments, and Medicare coverage. The client was especially relieved to have insurance, allowing him to maintain his critical treatment.

While the disability hearing process may seem overwhelming and difficult, an experienced attorney can help you understand your options and ensure you are prepared at every step. If you or a loved one is unable to work full-time due to your medical condition(s), whether you are looking to apply, have already been denied, or are awaiting your court date, you can call and speak with one of our attorneys to help you win the benefits you deserve. We will fight alongside you to make sure you receive the benefits you deserve. Call us today to schedule your free consultation. 800-838-1100.

Disability Law Group: February Case Spotlight

Attorney Mandy Kelly recently received a decision from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) granting compensation under 38 U.S.C. §1151 for invasive breast cancer.  The Veteran was prescribed Prempro, a supplemental estrogen medication which has been shown to have an increased risk of invasive breast cancer.

After attending a hearing in December 2019, Mandy Kelly received an immediate response from the Board granting benefits.  The Board found that considering all the evidence of record, the Veteran’s invasive breast cancer was caused by the VA doctor’s decision to prescribe Prempro without truly addressing her medical history.

In this case, the VA provider chose to prescribe the Veteran a medication without fully addressing her own personal risk factors, and therefore established an error in judgment in furnishing medical treatment that proximately caused the Veterans additional disability.

If you believe that a VA Medical Center prescribed you with medication in a careless manner, please contact our attorneys at 1.800.838.1100.